Curtis L. Archer, a native New Yorker, was born in the Morrisania section of the Bronx. His family eventually moved to what was known as the “Middle Class Experiment”, Co-op City, where he lived throughout his formative years. His early education included attendance at the prestigious Stuyvesant High School for Math and Science. After graduating from there in ‘76, he went to Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, where he played varsity basketball, and graduated with a degree in sociology and criminal justice. He later attended Columbia University as a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science.


In 1989, Curtis began his career in community development in the NYC Office of Business Development under Mayor David Dinkins, as a Development Manager in the Neighborhood Development and Commercial Revitalization Program. It was there that he got a real taste for a career in public service in the field of community and economic development. In 1992, Curtis accepted a position with the NYC Economic Development Corporation (EDC), where he eventually reached the level of Senior Project Manager and was responsible for moving several retail projects ahead in his old South Bronx neighborhood, as well as Co-op City. Following this was a position as supervisor for the City Business Assistance Program (CBAP). Borough President Claire Shulman’s office recognized his hard work and hired him as their Director of Economic Development and Liaison to the African American community.


Curtis then became Director of Small Business Development for the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone in 1997, but shortly thereafter was hired as the Executive Director of Rockaway Development and Revitalization Corporation (RDRC), where he was successful in promoting the revitalization of the peninsula's economic base and neighborhoods. Since January 2006, Curtis has served as President of the Harlem Community Development Corporation. He sees his role as essential in enhancing the economic climate for both businesses and residents in the Greater Harlem community. Curtis has been the recipient of many awards and citations, most recent of which was the “Distinguished Leadership and Service Award” from NYPACE (New York Professional Advisors for Community Entrepreneurs) in 2017.